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Category: Politics

Lies, Half-Truths and Opinions: The Good Friday Agreement and the Irish Border

Lies, Half-Truths and Opinions: The Good Friday Agreement and the Irish Border

Fact: The Good Friday Agreement does not prohibit a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Stating that it does is an incorrect factual statement, and therefore either an error or a lie. If you doubt this, the full text of the agreement is here:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/136652/agreement.pdf Fact: The UK Prime Minister and Irish Taoiseach have agreed that there should be no hard border following Brexit. It is true this is a relevant point when disscussing the subject. It…

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Conservative Home: To ensure that Chequers is the end of the concessions, prepare swiftly and publicly for No Deal

Conservative Home: To ensure that Chequers is the end of the concessions, prepare swiftly and publicly for No Deal

In my latest Conservative Home article I argue that we should support the Chequers deal – but only if we simultaneously ramp up preparations for no deal, to ensure no more concessions. I also consider the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, to show just how swiftly a country can be separated if the political will to do so is there. Read the full article here: Iain Mansfield: To ensure that Chequers is the end of the concessions, prepare swiftly and…

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Three Ways to Improve Referenda

Three Ways to Improve Referenda

Whilst it’s right that Vote Leave are being fined, it’s absurd to suggest that this renders the result invalid. That being said, this – and other events before, during and after the referendum – do highlight a number of areas where our rules around referenda could helpfully be strengthened. First though, let’s get the Vote Leave situation out of the way As I said above, there is no reason to doubt the outcome of the investigation. Vote Leave seem unambiguously…

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Today’s Events – Reflections from a Leave Voter

Today’s Events – Reflections from a Leave Voter

I spent most of Sunday trying to see the Chequers Brexit agreement in the best positive light. The deal seemed a long way from what I would have liked to see in a Brexit – which, as I’ve written before, would be some form of FTA arrangement. It ceded far too much control to Brussels – and that was even before the negotiations begin, in which no doubt the position would be compromised further. But I was conscious that I…

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“Have had enough of experts…”: An attempt to find common ground

“Have had enough of experts…”: An attempt to find common ground

No phrase of the Leave campaign is more vilified than Michael Gove’s, “I think the people in this country have had enough of experts…”. Unlike many of the other contentious phrases, such as the £350m, it transcends Brexit itself to express everything that Remain voters – broadly liberal, highly educated, outwardly-looking – find repugnant about the movement that led to Leave. It is seen as a quintessential expression of populism, a battle-cry of the ‘somewheres’ against the ‘anywheres’ and is…

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Votes at 16: A Call for Consistency

Votes at 16: A Call for Consistency

I’m not an expert on child development. I don’t know whether 17 is the right age at which we should let people get a driving license, or whether this should be changed to 16 or 18. Similarly, I don’t have a strongly informed opinion on other similar issues, such as the fact that: 18 is the age you can buy a pint of beer in a pub 18 is the age you can use a sunbed 18 is the age…

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Debut Conservative Home piece

Debut Conservative Home piece

My debut article for Conservative Home has been published: “Five Tests for a Good Brexit Deal.” In it, I briefly review progress on negotiation since Brexit and then set out recommended parameters for the final deal. You can read the full article here.

Against Means-Testing; OR, I Agree with Tony Benn (on this issue)

Against Means-Testing; OR, I Agree with Tony Benn (on this issue)

Means testing(1) is everywhere these days. It’s in maintenance grants and child benefit, job-seeker’s allowance and housing benefit and much more. Sometimes it seems that almost every new policy proposal involves means-testing. So how did it get to this stage, when means-testing should be anathema to both left and right wing? For those on the left, opposition to means testing has its very roots in the Labour party. Attlee’s government swept to power in 1945 after campaigning to abolish what…

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More Deals and No Deals

More Deals and No Deals

In the discussions (on and offline) following my recent post ‘No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal’, one idea that came up a number of times was that there was a third option, to call the whole thing off. This was invariably suggested by people who had originally voted Remain. Whilst including this option would make a much less snappy television show title, it is obviously theoretically correct that this is an option. I will even go further: if…

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No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal

No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal

A simple statement, this nevertheless seems to cause consternation in the hearts of those who never wished to leave the EU. And yet it is trivially, self-evidently true. Leaving aside the utter folly of announcing any other policy – one does not get good results from a negotiation by telling the other side you’ll accept any offer, no matter how bad – it is obvious that there are some deals that are worse than no deal. The deal in which…

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